I know I’m not special when I say that 2020 has deprived me of a lot of joy. As someone who enjoys the art and entertainment industry, it absolutely broke my heart to see stage and screen events delayed or outright canceled as a result of the pandemic.
Even so, there have been little glimmers of light in this darkness that shine brighter than anyone could have ever anticipated. Most of them have been movies and TV shows, which will come as no surprise to those who know me personally. However, they have also taken the form of video games, YouTube channels, social media apps, and a few minor life experiences that made me grateful to still be alive amidst all the chaos. These things have also been a wonderful reminder of the abundant happiness that awaits us all on the other side of what has already gone down as one of the most disastrous times in human history. These seven things helped me get through 2020:
1. Finally watching The Office in its entirety!
Before COVID-19 hit America, I got to check one box that was pretty high up on my list. For years, I had only seen The Office in bits and pieces, and knew little about what happens to each character. I knew I would find it much funnier when I played it from beginning to end, but the sincerity of it all still blindsided me. Even when the writing falters a bit in the last few seasons, it successfully builds to one of the best (and most emotional) series finales I have ever seen.
2. Watching David Lynch’s weather reports.
I never realized just how much I needed one of my favorite filmmakers to talk about “blue skies and golden sunshine” almost every morning. Since May, hearing Mr. Lynch relay the weather from his house in Los Angeles in that shrill-yet-calming voice of his has been a constant source of serotonin for me. In a world where celebrities keep followers updated with big life events, corporate sponsorships, and hopping on the latest trend, it’s quite refreshing to see someone of great renown simply sit back and share his love for the little things in life.
3. Getting into TikTok.
There’s probably no greater outlet that people around the world have used so fervently to connect with each other since quarantine began. My experience with the popular app is kind of similar to how I reacted to The Office — I knew it would be funny as hell, but the humanity behind it all surprised and touched me. More than anything, TikTok has proven to me that the creative spirit is alive and well within us all, and that it will surely take us to some pretty cool places once we get through this pandemic.
4. Catching up on older movies.
With most of the 2020 release slate delayed and movie theaters forced to close for a few months, I found myself prioritizing older movies I had put off watching for a long while. As of this month, I have watched over 100 movies that were new to me this year. I finally got to see what all the Twilight hubbub has been about, hopped on the Contagion hype train that resulted from the birth of the pandemic, and watched one of the funniest things ever made: The VelociPastor.
5. Playing through The Last of Us Part II.
The long-awaited sequel to the PlayStation hit was certainly a high point for many this year. It was brutal, gut-wrenching, tragic, beautiful, and all the things one should expect out of the survival horror genre. And yet, it somehow surpassed all my expectations, relentlessly delivering on excitement and heartbreak in equal measure. It is, without a doubt in my mind, the best game I have ever played. As a meditation on forgiveness and the cycle of violence, it’s even more poignant in light of current events.
6. Viewing the Justice League – Snyder Cut Trailer.
I don’t think I’ve loved a trailer so much in a long time. Even as someone who thought the fan campaign calling for a director’s cut of DC’s maligned team-up movie was a little ridiculous, I am incredibly excited by the fact that Zack Snyder has been given free rein to execute his original vision. By the looks of it, we are about to see something special. No matter how good or bad it turns out to be, I’m just glad something like this awaits us next year. The choice of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as the music overlaying its glorious imagery is just the icing on the cake.
7. Actually dressing up for Halloween for the first time in years.
As a kid, I looked forward to Halloween for the sole purpose of making my costumes as movie-accurate as possible. Recently, however, I always failed to follow through on whatever costume I had planned. In spite of the lack of holiday parties for obvious reasons, I decided I would dress up anyway, just to feel some semblance of spooky delight. Judging from my picture above, you can see I was quite pleased with the result.
If there’s one thing I know we can say about 2020, it’s that it has been unforgettable. Of course, I am more than ready to leave it behind and eager to see what awaits me next year. I hope that those of you reading this had more than a few things to look forward to over the last 10 months, and even more to look forward to after we change calendars.
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